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Robert Vincent Sims

In The Beginning

As a kid he sold plants on a street corner and people felt sorry for him thinking his parents made him do it. Little did they know that the kid out by the elementary school would turn out to be one of Florida's best landscape designers and radio / television personalities. As he grew older his nursery prospered and people came from all over the world to buy exotic plants that he had collected from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. As a child Vince gave lectures to all the different plant societies in South Florida. He spoke at internationally famous Fairchild Tropical Gardens on a regular basis and hundreds came to hear "the kid" spout wisdom. He told them how he grew his plants with beer, soap, ammonia, and fish emulsion. He told his audiences, "All I know is that the worse my concoctions smell the better the plants grow!"



The various plant societies had plant sales and fund raisers. Vince was always there to help out. At the age of 15 he was asked to go on Miami's public television station and promote the various events. From his first appearance "the kid" was a hit and became the regular television spokesperson for the various events. His nursery, "Shady Ridge" became South Florida's nucleus for exotic plants. Collectors all over the world came to visit and buy plants from "the kid" that had the "collection" beyond belief. Rare ferns, bromeliads, palms, and cycads were prime inventory. As the newspapers, TV stations and radio stations became aware of "the kid", they all clamored for stories. His nursery grew, his plants grew and his reputation grew.  Vince continues to this day to mesmerize audiences at home show conventions. His Garden Rebel series booklets are some of the most successful in the entire industry. Because of his inspirational nature he has been asked to write a self-help book to help guide others to successfully fulfill their dreams. It is called "Lifting the Mind Fog", and is available through Sims Landscaping: 1-352-383-3303.


Introduction To The Plant World

When Robert Vincent Sims was 10 years old his parents took him to the Miami Metropolitan Garden show. He visited all the booths in total awe. While walking out on his own garden path, so to speak, he discovered the Fern Society booth. Ferns of all sizes were tiered on a large ladder. The top of the ladder had a huge blue ribbon specimen of a Staghorn fern. Vince decided that he needed to know the name of the flawless specimen and quietly stepped up on the first rung of the ladder to read the name tag. That's when it happened, the entire display with dozens of potted plants came crashing down into an instant compost pile. People came running from everywhere to investigate the noise and the president of the Fern Society helped Vince to pick up all the pieces. Scared to death that he would be in “big” trouble, he didn't even get a scolding from the president. Instead the president said, “Would you assist me in the operation of this Staghorn, young man?” Vince said “you bet”! The man cleared a table, took out the largest knife Vince had ever seen and began to divide the big fern. As the damaged suckers or “pups” were removed from the specimen Vince was intrigued and asked plenty of questions. The president invited him to the next Fern Society meeting and gave Vince one of the newly divided Staghorn Ferns. A month later Vince arrived at the Fern Society meeting with his thriving fern mounted on a square cedar plank. He showed it to the group that night and explained how he obtained it and the audience roared with laughter. His introduction to the plant world was well on its way.


Garden Rebel Style Growing

Garden Rebel “Style” growing has become a major part of many growers lives. His lawn tonics include beer, tea, ammonia, soap and liquid iron and continue to amaze listeners as they have the greenest grass on the block. Vince's advice on growing includes tonics and solutions the pilgrims used such as tobacco juice. He has combined his knowledge of the latest horticultural studies and it proves to be his formula for success.

His faithful listeners turn out by the hundreds to hear the “Rebel” spout his outrageous but awesomely successful advice. He says, “Give names and faces to the weeds, someone from the office perhaps, or maybe even your in laws; now grab the weeds firmly and hit them hard against the cement-afterwards you'll be drained of all your hostilities!”

He introduced phase landscaping to his listeners. He explains, “Put the landscape together in phases it's like putting a puzzle together and it's easier on the pocketbook that way".

Often to prevent problems he recommends regular safe tonics to keep the yard in shape. The listeners follow his advice with delight. His shows are filled with people that believe in his methods, get great results and they let him know it.


“The Rappin' Rebel”

When is the last time you heard a gardener do a rap song? Songs and character comedy one liners help to distinguish “The Garden Rebel” from any other garden show. His talk style is loose. He converses with the caller as if he was in his living room with his feet up on the couch. His natural spontaneity is the “core” of his phenomenal success. He does what is so hard for all the other gardeners to do, he keeps the listeners attention.


His Advice Works!

Robert Vincent Sims' mission is to help others and he does it with a sincerity that the audience instantly picks up on. His success is as rare as some of the exotic specimens in his private collection. He believes in solving problems with the safest, most efficient means possible. His callers continually report back to let him know that he saved their spindly, sick, dying shrub, tree or groundcover. His callers are vivacious and eternally optimistic. Many listeners keep "Garden Rebel Journals" that are detailed and categorized to perfection. He is known for telling it like it is, if he feels a caller has misused and abused a certain plant, he warns them with a “Garden Rebel citation”. “Keep it up", he says, "and you won't be allowed to work in the garden for not one, but two weeks!”

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